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Social representations of HIV/AIDS in Central and Eastern Europe


  • Goodwin, Robin
  • Kozlova, Alexandra
  • Kwiatkowska, Anna
  • Anh Nguyen Luu, Lan
  • Nizharadze, George
  • Realo, Anu
  • Külvet, Ahto
  • Rämmer, Andu


Although a relatively recent epidemic, HIV is now increasing in Eastern Europe faster than anywhere else in the world. In the study reported in this paper, we interviewed 511 business people and health professionals in five Central and Eastern European nations: Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Poland and Russia, deriving our questions primarily from a Social Representations perspective. Respondents also freely completed their associations with the stimulus word 'AIDS'. Our findings indicate that, although there is considerable agreement about the threat posed by the epidemic, there are also notable cultural differences in attributions about the origin and spread of the virus and the nature of those groups at risk of infection. These findings are interpreted in the light of the historical legacies of the Communist era, as well as the real economic and social challenges faced by the population of this region.

Suggested Citation

  • Goodwin, Robin & Kozlova, Alexandra & Kwiatkowska, Anna & Anh Nguyen Luu, Lan & Nizharadze, George & Realo, Anu & Külvet, Ahto & Rämmer, Andu, 2003. "Social representations of HIV/AIDS in Central and Eastern Europe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1373-1384, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:7:p:1373-1384

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    Cited by:

    1. Riley, Gerard Anthony & Baah-Odoom, Dinah, 2010. "Do stigma, blame and stereotyping contribute to unsafe sexual behaviour? A test of claims about the spread of HIV/AIDS arising from social representation theory and the AIDS risk reduction model," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 600-607, August.


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